05 May 2008

Digsby: IM, email and social networking

If you have MSN/Windows Live Messenger, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk or ICQ installed on your computer, you should uninstall them right now and replace them with Digsby.

Multiprotocol IM clients aren't new. Trillian, Miranda, Pidgin (formerly Gaim), Adium and Meebo have been around for a while. Digsby isn't just another multiprotocal IM client though.

Imagine a chat program that allows you to connect to all of the major IM networks: AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk and Jabber. A program that allows you to combine a friend's multiple IDs from different networks into a single merged contact to eliminate duplicates in your buddy list. A program that notifies you of new email from all of your email accounts. A program that allows you to stay up-to-date with your social networking accounts on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. That program is Digsby.

Digsby is a free chat program that does IM better than it has been ever done before. Beautifully simple, customisable and powerful, Digsby puts all of your accounts and contacts at your finger tips. Digsby is on the IM cutting edge. For example, Facebook rolled out Facebook Chat a few weeks ago. Within 5 days, Digsby rolled out an update allowing Facebook chat to integrate into Digsby just like any other IM network. No other IM client supports Facebook chat (yet).

Instant messaging
Digsby lets you do what you want: change your status for all your accounts, sign in to two accounts from the same service simultaneously (e.g. two different Google Talk accounts), have multiple chats in a tabbed conversation window, or drag important conversations into their own windows. Digsby is great because it lets you decide how you want it to behave.

Minimise the chat window and you will receive popup messages in the corner of your screen, notifying you of new IMs. You can reply directly into the popup - no need to re-open then re-minimise the chat window. Send your message and the popup will fade away, and you can continue working on what you were doing. If you want to, you can allow notifications to pop up even when using a full screen program, e.g. if you are viewing a Powerpoint presentation in fullscreen.

You can manage your Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, even IMAP and POP3 accounts from Digsby.

Digsby can display popup email notifications from all of your configured accounts. Clicking a popup will launch a browser window, auto-log-you-in, and bring up the message.

Don't want to use a browser? No problem. At the bottom of the Digsby buddy list is the email InfoBox, which provides a preview of your unread messages, and allows you to perform actions such as mark as read, archive or report spam right from Digsby!
Digsby makes sending email easy too. You can compose and send emails directly from the conversation window. The email is sent directly from your account - as if you composed it in your browser.

Lets say you've configured your Gmail account in Digsby, and while typing up an email you realise that you want to add an attachment, or do something requiring your browser, simply hit the Edit in Gmail button and Digsby will launch the browser, log you in, and copy your text for you, pasting into the body of the compose window. Brilliant.

Social Networking
Digsby can notify you of everything happening on your Facebook, Twitter or MySpace account - and apparently other networks will be supported in future. You can receive friend requests, messages, group invites, new photo notifications, status updates, upcoming birthdays, and so on. You can even set and change your status from within Digsby.

Do you use Digsby across multiple computers? No problem. Digsby will completely synchronise between computers. Log in to Digsby on a friend's computer using your Digsby id and password, and your settings, skins, fonts, colours, notification settings etc. will load automatically from the server. Log off and everything returns to how your friend had it.

I could go on and on about how good Digsby is, and I still wouldn't do it justice. Just install it and use it for yourself. After ten minutes, you'll see what I've been raving about.

Digsby raises the bar for mulit-protocol IM clients, and IM chat programs in general. It's features, power and the simplicity of the Digsby UI put it in a class of its own.

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